When I came to, it was evening. I was lying in the front yard of the headquarters - I still do not know how I got there - covered with countless splinters of glass, wood and concrete, and losing blood from both arms. I felt dull pains all over my body. My white short-sleeved blouse and mompe (the authorities ordered women, young and old, to wear these Japanese-style loose trousers) were torn and bloody. I felt strangely calm. I looked down at my wrist watch; it was completely broken.
Mother and child survivors
I sat in a field of rubble watching the sun set. I thought this was the end of Nagasaki, and of Japan. I prayed that my family might have escaped injuries and be alive. I had been taught to believe that the kamikaze (divine wind) would blow some day to save Japan from crisis, leading us to a decisive victory, but realised that there was no divine wind to attack the American plane; instead, a bomb of huge power had exploded over us, when we were totally unprepared.
Blessed by fate, I was allowed to survive. But my normal wartime routine had suddenly been interrupted by death and horror. I felt guilty for being alive. I learned later that the primary target for this second bomb had been Kokura, the largest industrial city in northern Kyushu; Nagasaki, which was a shipbuilding centre, was the secondary target. On that morning of August 9, when the bomber named Bockscar reached the sky over Kokura, clouds hung heavily over the city, and the plane, nowrunning low on fuel, turned towards Nagasaki. When it reached the centre of Nagasaki city, visibility was still poor. So it moved 3,300m north-west, and found a hole in the cloud large enough to drop a bomb through. It exploded at 11:02.
Many people were trapped under fallen debris; some who survived the blast were burned to death when subsequent fires raged through the city. Charred bodies lay scattered on the red wasteland. I wrote some poems about this inhuman attack: "Blown out by the bomb/A horse's intestines are/Scattered all around; /A half-immolated cat,/Crazed with hunger, attacks them." "A half-naked woman/ Her throat and mouth blasted by/The heat rays, holding/A baby that keeps seeking/Milk from her mother's breast."